10th May, 2012
While making a case for the overhaul of the energy sector for increased efficiency, a Professor of Physics at the University of Ilorin, Clement Olufemi Akoshile, has said that the energy crisis in Nigeria must be seen as a ‘war’ situation which must be won if it is not to consume the nation.
Prof. Akoshile made this submission while delivering his inaugural lecture entitled Energy and the Chameleon Delta: Energy Transformation in the Sustenance of Life in the Universe.
Prof. Akoshile noted that there is need for the adoption of an aggressive approach in order to solve Nigeria’s energy problem. He added that government should therefore set up or create a special research team to combat our electrical energy crisis.
The don also submitted that for every one hundred million naira spent on importing energy into Nigeria, ten million naira (1%) must be reserved and spent on energy research in order to salvage the country.
According to the renowned physicist, the time has come for Nigeria to produce her own range of automobiles and invent new ones.
“Presently there are no inside city air taxi, no rapid fresh-food delivery system nationwide, no electronic chips assembly plateaus like Silicon Valley, the blackboard chalk in schools are yet to be replaced, thieves taking money upfront before giving rightful payment are not yet remotely caught and shown on screen, voting electronic machines are still being imported, Nigeria is yet to go to Space and the list continues.”
He therefore tasked government and business establishments to fund research and reduce dependence on foreign donors. He frowned at the buy and sell syndrome that is dominant in the country, saying that it only makes a nation poor and a dump-ground for the rejected and leftovers of other countries.
The US-trained scholar disclosed that the acquisition, running and maintenance of science-based research equipment is expensive and government and the university authorities must recognise this and fund science-based research appropriately in order to get rewarding result that would take the nation out of the thick and dark woods.
His words: “The situation where for example, a country like America, or France, United Kingdom, Japan or China has hundreds of equipment to study global climate phenomenon in each of these countries and spends billions of dollars on research while a continent like Africa has about 10 of such equipment with all but few obtained by donation and spends a small fraction of theirs cannot but give result that is concomitant with the fund effort.”
The lecturer recommended that every research Professor be given a million naira a year for the next ten years on a research proposal that must be submitted as evidence that he or she is actively working and contributing to the development of the nation.
Similarly, he said, every Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer should be given N750, 000 each while every Lecturer I & II and Graduate Assistant should be respectively given N500,000 and N250,000 as consolidated research fund.
He suggested that industries in the country must participate in solving national problems and stop complaining about PHCN that is not providing power.
“They should for God and conscience sake join the government in active research and development of power from the gains they generated from Nigeria to benefit large subsections of the nation in solving geo-sectional energy problem and other problems,” he noted.
Prof. Akoshile further recommended that the University of Ilorin should provide fund to build large solar drier and solar heater to apply in drying agricultural samples such as elubo (yam flour), cassava, fish and even planks in view of the University’s farms. He also recommended that the industrial sector should produce food in the South, transport and solar drier in the North to preserve and thereby save and reduce waste in Nigeria as a measure of addressing hunger and providing foreign export for the country.
“Dependence on oil should soon become a side issue with technological development springing up on every side and corner of Nigeria. In the words of Obama “we need a change. Yes, we can; God being our help, we shall,” he concluded.
The inaugural lecture was well attended by eminent personalities including distinguished scholars, former Vice-Chancellors, Nigerian Academy of Letters Executive Committee members and the general public.